This is the game that had it all. It had great graphics, fun gameplay, a brilliant free-to-play system with only modest rewards for those willing to pay, and an easy recipe for success.
Unfortunately, the Russian-based Gaijin apparently decided they no longer needed any of that in their game, and have been working tirelessly to remove any inkling of fun the game might have once had.
Since the 1.37 Patch was released, the player population of the game has stagnated to the point where the only players you'll encounter are either the Die-Hard Russian fanatics or the "too stupid to quit playing" crowd. Up until today, I was in that latter category. No more. I've had it.
The planes are ridiculous in every game mode - almost none of them bearing any sort of truthful resemblence to their real-life counterparts. The weapons are comical at best - with machine guns that literally do no damage and bombs that make you pull your hair out and wonder why the citizens of Dresden were so upset. The maps are extremely tired and repeat themselves so often that you begin to quit matches before they even load, because you know exactly what Pacific Hidden Base is going to be. The game types sound wonderful on paper, but in practice are so amazingly bad that once the honeymoon phase wears off and you begin to earnestly focus on the gameplay, you realize that these guys (the programmers) have absolutely no clue what's fun and what isn't.
They're falling the way of Blizzard - where every patch removes another desperately needed piece of the "fun" equation. Yet unlike Blizzard, who calmly acknowledge that they're ruining their games with words like "casual" and "approachability," these dumb Ruskies instead completely ignore their playerbase. Totally. Even mentioning a gripe with the game on their official forums will warrant you a ban - almost immediately. Have a problem with a player in game? Report them! But beware - if you report one player multiple times (for example, you notice them cheating, so you report it, then they use a racist term towards you, so you report them again) you'll be the one banned. Notice a group of players cheating? Don't even bother - the moment you start reporting multiple people in one round, you're getting banned.
Do you see where I'm going with this?
Couple that with the unending stream of new cheats and hacks that are coming out almost daily, and it's plain to see why the popularity of this game has rapidly decreased. Do yourself a favor and wait for something better to come along.